God is a Just Judge!
Readings: 1st: Sir 35:12-14.16-19; Ps: 32; 2nd: 2 Tim 4:6-8.16-19; Gos: Lk 18:9-14
This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans). He is currently working with the Spiritan International Group of Puerto Rico & Dominican Republic. He is the Administrator of Parroquia La Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Chancellor of the Diocesis of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico. For more details and comments contact him on: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org.
On this thirtieth Sunday of Ordinary time, the Church reminds us that the Lord is a Just Judge who favors the humble and the just.
In the first reading, Sirac exalts us on the justice of God towards the poor, orphans, widows, and the weak of our society. This is coming at the heels of a time when just judgment has become a thing of the past and the highest bidder wins. In the “Heavenly Court”, God the Just Judge remains resolute to ensure that justice is upheld.
We are called to be like God the Just Judge who acquits the virtuous by delivering just judgment. Also, Sirac assures us that in as much as we are humble, prayerful and persevere in doing good, God will surely be there to vindicate us as the psalmist says: “The Lord hears the cry of the poor” (Ps. 34:6).
In the second reading, Paul, having played his part perfectly well, now confidently awaits good judgment from the Just Judge. He boldly asserts himself: “I have fought the good fight to the end, I have kept the faith; all there is to come now is the crown of righteousness reserved for me.”
There is only one thing that can give one such a confidence. This is, a life well-lived in humility, and the fear of God. If we are already living a good and humble life we must not stop. Rather, we must struggle to the end and to the finish line. When Paul was yet to accomplish the race, he wrote: “I do not claim that I have already arrived…I move on towards the goal to win the prize” (Phil 3, 12-14).
In the gospel, Jesus reminds us, that judgment belongs to “God who searches what searches the mind (Jer 17: 10).” He is the one who knows all our intentions and actions. So, it is not for us to judge others because at times, human judgement can be biased. What transpired between the publican and the tax collector is typical of the scenario we see us every day.
Self-righteous people often judge people wrongly because of their own weakness of mind and ignorance of how God operates. Such people look at themselves as the role model that others must imitate, or as if they are the only holy ones. They always wear the “holier than thou attitude.” So, they are quick to condemn others. However, God judges differently.
Finally, we must not place ourselves where we do not belong, and place others where we feel they should be. Rather, we must humbly acknowledge our nothingness, vulnerability and weakness before God, the Just Judge. Christ, the Just Judge who acquitted the humble tax collector says to us today: “Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the man who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Peace be with you all!